CHP: CMS Says More Details Needed for NYS Waiver Approval

NYS Faulted For Impasse On $10 Billion Waiver

Crain’s Health Pulse  August 8, 2013


The Cuomo administration and the New York congressional delegation have looked for a political solution to getting CMS to finally grant the state's $10 billion Medicaid waiver request. The political pressure has not elicited results after one year, but a coalition of community activists said yesterday that they know the reason for the impasse: New York state failed to respond adequately to the feds' questions.


Judy Wessler, who is affiliated with the Save Our Safety Net Campaign and the Coalition to Save Interfaith Hospital, said the groups met on Aug. 5 for half an hour with CMS national and regional office staffers. Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS, was teleconferenced in. The groups made their case for why Interfaith and Long Island College Hospital shouldn't close, and why CMS should grant the waiver.


According to Ms. Wessler, Ms. Mann said she had toured Brooklyn with state Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson the prior week, but could not do anything because the state has failed to respond to CMS' request for "specific information about how the funds will be used, and what the outcomes of the programs will be. They are looking for a transformation of the health care system."


According to Ms. Wessler, New York state submitted "little in the way of details and information" about how it would spend the money, beyond what was contained in its initial proposal.


Ms. Wessler said that it appears CMS "will not move on the waiver request until the state finally submits the required detailed information."


The allegation means that the state has lost valuable time in getting access to federal funding that in theory could have saved both hospitals.


A spokesman for the state Department of Health called securing the waiver "the highest priority to the state," which is "working extensively and productively with CMS." He said New York has given CMS more than 1,000 pages—"a significant volume of comprehensive information," which is online here.


"The state will continue its focused and determined efforts to secure CMS' approval of the waiver, which will provide much-needed resources … to achieve even greater efficiencies, savings and improved health outcomes through evidence-based reforms," the spokesman said.